Which guidelines should be followed when structuring knowledge?
Knowledge articles need to serve the user to locate content fast. This can be achieved by dividing the content into logical categories, which will be used as tabs to enable easy navigation inside the article.
Content needs to be consistent in terms of both structure and look & feel. For that reason, there is a preference of using predefined structured fields over free text fields, such as select fields (drop-down lists), radio buttons, date pickers, calculated fields, validated fields (numeric, email, URL etc.), containers, FAQs, links fields and more.
The aim should be to use the first tab to provide an overall summary or highlight of the article with some key details presented.
A good knowledge management implementation should support organizations’ business improvements by providing short, simple and effective, consumable content. The look & feel of the item dramatically affects the time it takes to retrieve relevant information. The template structure should guide the content managers to generate focused and simple items.
The fields’ division into tabs and the order of presenting them in the article supports the common business process flow the article is associated to.
Prioritize the fields to determine which will be open by default and which are collapsed (closed) to make sure we avoid scrolling in initial view.
Make use of linked items to avoid duplication of content.
Ongoing template management
The template manager has a very important role and responsibility of protecting the templates’ structure. His role is to ensure the content team have sufficient flexibility for content managers whilst maintaining the structure methodology.
Avoid enabling field titles (captions) to be changed on the article level to ensure consistency.
Be open for changes to support field needs, but reject changes that contradict the methodology.
Determine actions that should be available for articles of this template: emailing, printing, faxing, texting (SMS) etc.
Set the field level authorization for different types of users.
Adapt the templates, responding to changing business processes and knowledge.
Respond to feedback from users of the system.
Adjust the structure based on usage analytics.
Content should be ever-changing based on business needs and these guidelines should constantly be reviewed to ensure both employees and customers have the knowledge articles needed in the most appropriate form.